‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Divorced MPs more likely to defect

Defecting MPs are more than three times as likely as loyalists to be divorced. This is one of the surprising findings from my research into over 100 political defections over the course of the last century.

9.5% of defectors were divorced, compared to only 2.7% of MPs who remained loyal to their party. We can only speculate on the possible reasons for this. Most of the MPs in the study are now dead, and even if they were still alive they may well not have had an explanation themselves. 

However, there are certain character traits which suggest that there would be a correlation between divorcing and defecting. Both acts require a willingness to leave an unsatisfactory relationship, instead of staying and putting up with an uncomfortable situation. Both could be considered to require bravery and/or intolerance and a willingness to take a risk and make a new start.

MPs whose private lives are in turmoil may well find themselves under greater scrutiny from their party's whips, if divorce becomes recognised as a warning sign of possible defection!

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